Pain

He was despised and rejected by mankind,
    a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
    he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

 Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted                               Isaiah 53:3-4

What do we do with pain? Pain is a universal experience of humankind. It comes in many flavors- physical pain, emotional pain, mental pain, even spiritual pain. We try to avoid it, naturally, and there are some things that we can do to avoid unnecessary pain. We can, for example, avoid risky behaviors that may end up in pain such as extreme sports, reckless driving, excessive alcohol use, etc. Yet, even with such precautions, we cannot totally avoid pain in life.

Getting into relationships give us great pleasure and comfort, but we also then share the emotional pain of those whom we love. The pain of loss and death, for example, is extreme, but again, it is inevitable in our human experience.  That risk though is outweighed by the wonderful benefits of connection and intimacy we have with friends and family.

We cannot completely avoid physical pain, because pain was given to us for a reason. It is an indicator that something is amiss. We need to pay attention to the pain because it is telling us something, namely- “look into the source of pain to try to remedy it”. It may be a marker of more serious problems.

Other types of pain just come with the territory. We get muscle and joint pain just from our everyday living. Sometimes, we just physically hurt, and that is unavoidable.

But what do we do with pain? Do we ignore it? No, that is a bad idea most of the time. Do we acknowledge it and accept that it is part of life? Yes, that usually is a pretty good idea. Learning to accept pain is a gift of maturity and wisdom. Cursing the fact that pain exists is an exercise in futility. Pain is part of life.

So, how do we handle pain? We all have our ways, and we learn what works. The key is that no matter what the pain, we need to take ownership of it and decide what our attitude about it will be.

 All things considered, honestly acknowledging pain, not cursing it, is a good start.

Prayer: We understand that pain is a part of life, and the life you have given us is a blessed gift, Amen

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